The American Cancer Society pounds it into us. One of the warning signs of cancer is a sore that does not heal, so after about 9 months of watching the spot on my forehead, and listening to dozens of reminders from the doctor in the house, I drove through a blizzard to a dermatologist to get it checked.
This is what happened next.
The doctor said it looked like cancer and he wanted to send a sample to the lab to be sure. If it was, I would have to come back and have surgery.
Somehow, nobody called me with the lab results, so I thought I was okay. When I called them myself, they said I had cancer for sure and I should come in for my surgery.
But it was too late because I was leaving town the next day for six weeks. They scheduled me for surgery as soon as I got back.
When I returned, I found three blessed pieces of mail. One was a prayer rug from St. Matthew's Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The other two were a magazine and CD offer from Mac Hammond, who has been a faithful correspondent since I sent him a $5 contribution during his tribulation.
I touched the place.
My cancer was gone without a trace!
"Looks like a basal cell carcinoma. We'll biopsy to be sure. Once we find out what the lab says, we may have to bring you back for a procedure called Mohs micrographic surgery, where we excise around the site, look at the tissue under the microscope, and keep going until all we find is healthy tissue."
The lab confirmed his diagnosis, and I scheduled surgery for yesterday. Not a big deal, I was told by friends who've done it, although having a portion of your forehead removed, even temporarily, is an experience best missed.
"I like to do surgery," said the doctor. "But I can't see anything to remove. You healed well from the biopsy, and there's no sign of cancerous cells. There's about a 90% chance we got it all with the biopsy and it won't recur. If you're comfortable with waiting, we'll just watch you for a few months."
Now, where to send the check?